Time cover's fake tear prompts controversy

The redesign of Time magazine – the first big change in decades – didn’t provoke too much controversy.

True, many think the magazine is beginning to look too much like The Economist. With more essays than hard news.

It was the cover of the new Time that provoked the most controversy. It featured a close-up portrait of President Ronald Reagan with a large tear rolling down his cheek. The accompanying headline read "How the Right Went Wrong."
With the subhead: “What would Ronnie do? Why the Republican candidates need to reclaim the Reagan legacy?”

Nothing wrong with the story. It was the fake tear that got a lot of people upset.

Time was deluged with e-mail, some denouncing the fake tear.
The magazine pointed out it had not claimed the picture was genuine – that there was a line crediting the tear to illustrator Tim O’Brien.

In fact it is not the first time he has created a fake tear for Time magazine. The first time was back 1989 when he added a fake tear to a portrait of George Washington.
On that occasion the caption read “Is Government Dead?” and the teary portrait – or a copy of it – ended up in the National Gallery.

The artist – who over the years has done ten covers for Time, revealed that adding the tear to Ronald Reagan’s face took him little more than half an hour – said he was surprised by the controversy.

He insisted there was never any claim that the picture was genuine.
Time editor Rick Stengel added that the magazine, although conceding the credit line on an inside page was a little small, never claimed the picture was anything but a photo-shop reproduction.

One person who seemed particularly upset was Ronald Reagan’s son, Michael. He declared: "Dad would never cry."

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